Oct/Nov 2001  •   Fiction

The Groundhog That Didn't Know He Was a Man

by D. Harlan Wilson

Art by Bob Dornborg

Art by Bob Dornborg

There was a groundhog that didn't know he was a man. I stuck my mouth in his hole and tried to tell him what he didn't know, but he wouldn't listen. "Go away," he mumbled.


I ran into a nearby hotel and stole a mirror off the wall. A bellhop saw me out of the corner of his eye and started chasing me. During the chase, the groundhog that didn't know he was a man stuck his head out of his hole. He sniffed the air with his sharp aquiline nose and looked around with his wide blue eyes. People clapped. Some people threw their hands up in the air and said, "Alleluia!" It wasn't Groundhog Day, but people were out and about anyway.

The bellhop got caught in a revolving door that, the moment he stepped into it, accelerated to 75 mph and wouldn't let him out. I saluted him as I blustered through a normal door, the big mirror awkwardly tucked beneath my armpit.

Outside the hotel, the groundhog that didn't know he was a man was peacock-prancing around his hole in a perfect circle, his chest thrust out, his arms akimbo, his knees gracefully jabbing at the sky. After his third revolution people started to pass out, they were so happy. I said, "Stop encouraging him." The people that had passed out woke up and shook their heads no at me. Ignoring them, I dislodged the mirror from my armpit and held it out in front of the groundhog that didn't know he was a man.

When he saw his reflection, he immediately stopped peacock-prancing. "Oh my," he said. He began to touch his naked body all over the place. He touched his nose and chin, he touched his nipples and love handles, he touched his elbows, he touched his belly button ("It's an outie!" he hollered), he touched his genitals, he touched his thighs and his ankles and all ten of his toes, one at a time...

"See?" I intoned. The groundhog that didn't know he was a man nodded, then turned to his hole and swan dove into it. When he emerged again he was wearing a giant groundhog suit that looked more like a stuffed animal groundhog than a real one. Now he began to poodle-prance around his hole in a jaded elliptical shape. People cheered. Some people removed sandwiches from picnic baskets and stuffed them into their delirious grins...